Upland shotgun

JJWise

Eight Pointer
Have 3 shotguns currently, 2 12gauges and a 20. All 3 are more of a “shooting” gun rather than a “carrying” gun. Looking to get one specifically for carrying in the uplands. Quail, woodcock and grouse are the main targets. Would love to get a 16ga if I can find one, trying to stay around (or under) $500. Have looked at used Model 12s, Ithaca 37s, a multitude of used SxS and O/Us, etc. Anyone have any opinions about the best gun for the uplands?
 

NC Quailhunter

Six Pointer
I carry 28 gauge Stevens. It has been great. I wouldn't use it on Grouse in the Mountains. I have knocked down quail and woodcock with no problem in the wild and preserve pheasants have fallen to it also. I got it new for $500. Sixteen gauges are a little harder to come by but not that bad. I think your price point for a 16 might be a little low. I may be wrong but you might have to come up a little for a decent 16 gauge.
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Mdl 12s are absolutely great guns, I love them but unless you go with 20 or smaller gauge they are pretty heavy. I know, I have several configurations of them and been doing it for over 50 years.
 

JJWise

Eight Pointer
I carry 28 gauge Stevens. It has been great. I wouldn't use it on Grouse in the Mountains. I have knocked down quail and woodcock with no problem in the wild and preserve pheasants have fallen to it also. I got it new for $500. Sixteen gauges are a little harder to come by but not that bad. I think your price point for a 16 might be a little low. I may be wrong but you might have to come up a little for a decent 16 gauge.
I’m perfectly willing to go to a 20gauge or even a 28 if it’ll get the job done, no experience with the latter. 16 is my preference since I don’t have one but I’m not totally set on it.
 

Bailey Boat

Twelve Pointer
16 is going to be a little difficult to find shells regularly and won't do anything a 20 won't do.
You're going to carry it more than shoot it, keep it light and light means short barrels and straight stocks.
I have a 4 gauge battery of Browning Upland Specials and their all I hunt with. I'm sure they are still available on the used markets but have no idea of what $$$$ they would cost.
 

kilerhamilton

Twelve Pointer
If I had to pick it would be a semi 20ga with a 24” barrel. Shell choice depends on game.



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JJWise

Eight Pointer
All of my current shotguns have a 28” barrel, but again these guns are mostly used for waterfowl and doves. Is 24” the “standard” for most upland guns?
 

ABolt

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
For your intended targets, it's hard to beat a 20 gauge for the balance between carry weight and firepower. Today's shotshells make at 20 gauge efficient on almost anything short of long-range waterfowl.

My 6 pound 1984 Remington 870 Wingmaster in 20 gauge Lightweight with a 26" barrel and fixed improved cylinder choke is bad medicine for ruffed grouse and woodcock. My personal opinion is that a barrel shorter than 26 inches adversely affects balance and swing on an upland gun. Today's autoloaders from Weatherby and Franchi, among others, are nice in 20 gauge and would fit your budget. My son has the Weatherby SA-08 and loves it. I'm not a fan of the sub-$500 over-unders or side-by-sides, but some have them and like them.

Have fun shopping!

29091
 

kilerhamilton

Twelve Pointer
All of my current shotguns have a 28” barrel, but again these guns are mostly used for waterfowl and doves. Is 24” the “standard” for most upland guns?
Nope but 4” lighter and works for quick swinging on close shots, turkeys, rabbits and flushing quail.



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woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
Get the 16 ga like you want,,,20s are boring

If’n it were me, I’d slide down to mid-south and handle 40-11 of them, we what you like and don’t like

Ref barrel length - a 24” on an auto is just as long as a 28 to 30 in barrel on a double

It’s all in what feels good in your hand

Heck I picked up a 24 gauge but need to do some stock work, don’t quite fit me like I want
 

FishHunt

Twelve Pointer
Pump = Browning BPS 20ga Upland Special. My personal one has well over 15k rounds through it. I've had it going on 25 years and it is still my favorite upland gun. It will shoot anything under any conditions. New version pictured below.

29100
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
28 gauge hard to beat!!!! Tristar viper semi auto in both the 28 and 410 getting excellent reviews. Plenty of ammo to be found and cheap enough also, especially if you’re only hunting with it. Don’t worry bout it being a skosh smaller. If you can’t hit it with a standard 3/4 oz 28 load of 7-1/2’s or 8’s, chances are good you wouldn’t hit it with a 7/8 oz standard 20 load either......
 

appmtnhntr

Ten Pointer
I shoot a 3” 20 gauge youth gun for grouse and other upland. Short and handy. Weighs 5.5#

It’s a Charles Daly.

Have you looked at those youth Stoeger 2000 shotguns?

I have an auto 12 and O/U 12, but I find myself always grabbing the little pop gun.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I’m going to break the mold and tell you that a 16 gauge is not far off of a 12 gauge in any degree other than ammo availability and price.

Unless you are shooting a 3” 20 gauge....the 16 gauge will out man the 20 gauges. Even with a 3” 20, I don’t know that the pattern would compete with the 16 gauge.

I know you can load a 16 gauge up to 1-1/4oz and possibly more.
 

Mack in N.C.

Old Mossy Horns
I think you need an Ithaca 37 featherlight in 20 ga..... wonderful guns with bottom ejection just like the Browning BPS.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
Sxs and o/u are nice...but keep in mind you are carrying two barrels on any of those. A light weight auto would be my choice. Probably a 20 gauge unless you had a hankering for a 28. I personally like 26-28” barrels for about all shooting.
 

Bailey Boat

Twelve Pointer
Been hunting with my Upland Specials for 25 years and I will be the first to admit the 24' barrels do take some getting used to. They are VERY quick to start on a fast bird and will STOP just as quickly. Birds aren't very impressed when they hear the shot go behind them....
Browning does make a Superlight model that is the same as the Upland Specials (now discontinued) but with 26 inch barrels and screw chokes.
 

dc bigdaddy

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I have a little CZ that I bought from Ditchbank and it feels good and shoots pretty good. even thought I've on shot clays with it.
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Yep, he played a big part in many of the real nice guns. He payed a big part in my favorite the mdl 12.
 

Loganwayne

Six Pointer
cz guns are nice, but a little over your budget. so are the stevens 555 although ive found a few in the 550-575 range, but if your looking for a o/u it would be the gun i would be looking at. the 20 ga is around 5 lbs and the 12 in a pound heavier. ive shot one several times and it is going to the next shot gun i buy.
 

LIZZRD

Spike
I am partial to M-37 featherweights , have two 12 ga. and 20... just located a 16 that needs some tlc , it will be mine next month when I drive back to near Chattanooga , Tn.
My first was bought back in 1975 thru my grandpa a gun smith/dealer. It is now an extension of me when held. My choice is the 28" mod.vent rib barrel that it came with, pheasants back home, rabbits, quail, trap, don't matter. True story , I was invited to shoot a couple rounds of sportsman clay with a group of about 12 others that I mostly associated with at Chicagoland fishing site. Never shot sportsman before and was the only one that showed up with a pump gun.
I 'won' that day by one shot.
 
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